A journey into Asian Weddings

asian wedding

The evolution of Asian Weddings

Looking back over time, it is astonishing how weddings have evolved in different parts of the world. We have witnessed the phenomenal expansion and diversity of Asian Wedding Videography and its growth from being an interest of amateurs to that of highly trained and skilled professional teams.

Many of these teams now include a growing number of Female Videographers and technicians, partially out of interest of women entering the field of Asian Videography and partly due to the needs of communities such as Muslims, who have specific requirements when it comes to weddings and public events.

The institution of marriage is universal and has existed since the creation of religion and culture. Marriage goes as far back as the time of Pagans and antiquity itself. In the West, the tradition that we are most familiar with is that of the wedding vows, exchange of rings that is sealed with a kiss. These traditions in essence stem from ancient Rome where marriages were a public affair with family, friends and guests witnessing the coming together of a man and woman. Instead of a ring, a ribbon was wrapped around the couple as they held hands. The ring in modern times has come to signify eternity.

In the East, many of the cultures and religious beliefs are centred on the union of families as much as it is with the marriage of a man and woman. The giving of gifts such as clothes, jewellery and land are a more common practice in Asian weddings. Asian communities in the West have absorbed many European customs, including the exchange of rings to the throwing of the bouquet by the bride.

Historically, as communities developed throughout the world, the formality of marriage was established and embedded in state law. Marriage is now both a civil and religious act. The sacred texts from the Quran, Bible, Tohra, and Bhagavata Gita give codes and laws, outlining the responsibility and duties of any man and woman who wish to marry. They are given guidelines on how to live and conduct themselves; they are also given as to what commitment is and are taught to respect the sanctity of marriage with a moral code for husband and wife.

Hindu Weddings

In Hinduism for instance, a marriage union physically and metaphorically lasts seven life times:

“We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me. Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, united.
You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us;
may the morning be honey-sweet for us;
may the earth be honey-sweet for us and the heavens
be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us;
may the sun be all honey for us;
may the cows yield us honey-sweet milk.
As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable,
as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable,
so may our unions be permanently settled”.
Hindu wedding vows

Many religions have had far reaching effects globally from Christianity to Hinduism. Hinduism travelled to the end of the earth and reached Vietnam where ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are still standing in the northern regions of the country. Meanwhile, India continued to experience the invasions of many religions, such as the Greeks and later Islam.

Read more about Hindu Wedding Ceremony

Muslim Weddings

Islam is so well documented in Northern India, but in Southern India only those who are interested forage its past. The Arabs had been trading with Kerala and Tamil Nadu since 900 BC and during the 8th century, Islam began to influence the region, when a strong establishment of the Arakal dynasty in Kerala took hold and flourished.

Incidentally, in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu, the inheritance system was one of matriarchy where the eldest member of the family, whether male or female, became its head or inheritor, unlike the systems in the North of India where patriarchy rules and inheritance is automatically granted to the next male in line. In the Indian sub-continent, Islam which came from the mystical desert and was absorbed into the unique colourful cultural practices of the Indian sub-continent. Traditions such as throwing of rice by the bride as she leaves her family remained a part of Muslim families in India. Others traditions also remained such as the pouring of oil as the bride enters her husband’s home. Likewise, many Arab and North African traditions were absorbed into the Asian culture; such as henna painting. The tradition of henna is said to have come from North Africa, namely Egypt and Sudan where henna is used in tribal custom to keep the body cool and also acts as an antiseptic. Much of the sophistication of both cultures was blended into Indian and Arab lands. Henna has now come to dominate many festivities from weddings, Eid and Diwali with unique designs to each region. In North India, the pattern is very fine and delicate where as in much of the Arab world, the patterns are bold. However, what remains consistent to each culture are the sacraments of marriage and the meaning of vows.

“And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)

The unique traditions of South Asian Muslim marriage separate the traditions of those practiced in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Arabs from Saudi Arabia or from the Middle East are heavily influenced by western dress style. Brides wear white wedding gowns and the Groom is always in a suit and tie. We have filmed a number of weddings where the Bride is of Arab decent and the Groom is of Indian or Pakistani decent – one can see first-hand two continents meeting, where both families are generous in allowing the practicing of each other’s marriage customs.

Read more about Muslim Wedding Ceremony

Sikh Weddings

Marking the cycle of life from child to parent to grandchildren; relationships and marriage are central to the evolution of civilisation. Marriage in the Sikh culture is essential to living in the community. The sole purpose of marriage is to attain oneness with God and see God in one another. Throughout the Sikh marriage ceremony, the Bride and Groom pay homage to the Grant Saab and the four Lavans where the virtues of love, compassion and truthfulness are recited so that the couple can lead a blissful marriage.

To attain a blissful marriage, the Bride and Groom are reminded of the love for God and affection for the Guru’s.  Whilst each Lavan is being recited, the Bride and Groom ritually walk around the Grant Saab as a mark of respect and pay close attention to the hymns being sung, culminating in a prayer sung by all those present at the marriage ceremony.

The Guru Granth Sahib sets out marriage and shows us that we are but ‘one light and two bodies’ as set out in this hymn:

“They are not said to be husband and wife who merely sit together. They alone are husband and wife who have one light in two bodies.”
(GGS: 788-11)

The sacrament of marriage is paramount and central to the Sikh religion; Guru Nanak clearly teaches that the true path to god is through love which is uniquely present in marriage.

Read more about Sikh Wedding Ceremony

No matter what part of the world your community is from, marriage is central to existence and continuity, constantly marking out the cycle of life. This beautiful Apache blessing illustrates very well what marriage means and indeed shows us as to how far back the institution of marriage goes:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
An Apache blessing

Asian Wedding Services

We take inspiration from and respect all religious creed and sacraments; it is these values that drive us at Red Amber Productions in recognising the global virtue of marriage and its link to antiquity and to centuries ahead of us. Our knowledge and experience of working within the Asian wedding industry (by being Asian ourselves!) enables us to see the connections and similarities between communities. For instance, we recognise the need for female videographers especially when catering for Muslim weddings.

We are dedicated to recording your wedding with sincerity and can accommodate your needs and desires. Our Asian Videographer Team and Asian Photographers are adapt at dealing with the smallest to the largest function. We understand the importance of the day and strive to record every important moment.

We believe that the benefits and virtues of marriage are numerous and endless. A superb wedding DVD and Story Book and album are simply the beginning of it and helps play a small part in this magnificent institution. As written in the native Apache blessing “now you are two persons, but here is one life before you” is what we all strive for and to be a part of your journey as you embark on this path is a privilege and honour for us.

 

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